Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Fashioned Sauerkraut

This recipe comes from Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions.

The sauerkraut is meant to be served cold and uncooked to aid digestion of other foods, especially cooked foods, eaten at the same meal. My 20-month old son loves this sauerkraut and eats it by the handful.

The recipe says to pound the cabbage for about 10 minutes until the juices start to emerge. After a messy first go (and a very sore arm), I hoped to discover an easier way to make this scrumptious condiment. The next time, I let my Kitchen Aid mixer do the pounding. It turned out very nicely.


1 medium head Cabbage, chopped
1/4 cup Whey (see post, "Making" Whey)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Caraway Seeds

Chop the cabbage according to your preference. (I chop it finely so it's easier for our young muncher.) Place the cabbage in a Kitchen Aid mixer. Attach the beater and turn on to low speed.

Place the whey, sea salt and caraway seeds in a 1-quart Mason jar. Shake vigorously until sea salt is dissolved.

When the juices from the cabbage begin to emerge, add the seasoning/fermenting mixture. Continue to beat for several minutes to combine.

Place all contents in the 1-qt Mason jar, pressing down firmly until all the cabbage is added. Be sure to leave one inch of space between the cabbage and the top of the jar. This is needed as the fermentation works because of the pressure it builds. Place the lid on the jar and tighten snugly.

Place on your counter for three days. Then move to cold storage.

You can eat your sauerkraut right away, but the longer it sits, the more flavorful it becomes. I recommend at least 4 weeks, but 6 weeks is optimal.

When you do finally open your first jar, it will bubble and fizz like a soft drink. Not to worry!

From what I've read, you will know immediately if something went wrong. The odor will not allow anyone to eat the contents. But if it simply smells fermented, enjoy!

"Making" Whey

In order to create lacto-fermented vegetables, you need whey in the liquid form, not the granules. I have no idea where you could buy whey. But I have an easy way to "extract" it.

32 oz carton of organic, plain, whole milk yogurt

2 large paper towels
large bowl

Place the colander in the large bowl. Line the colander with a single paper towel. Pour the whole carton of yogurt into the colander. (Make sure the yogurt stays inside the paper towel.) Cover the yogurt with the second paper towel to keep it from drying out. Place everything into the refrigerator for 24 hours.

The whey will drip out of the yogurt. Check the bowl every few hours and empty the whey into a jar. This will keep the yogurt from sitting in the whey as it collects. After 24 hours, you can empty the strained yogurt into another paper-towel lined colander to keep extracting or you can put it back in its original container, depending on your preference for thick yogurt and your need for more whey.

You can use the yogurt as sour cream or just eat it plain. It's delicious!

The whey is now ready for use as a means of fermentation.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No Longer Gluten-Free

Well, it seems that Ben doesn't have a problem with gluten - just wheat - for now, anyway! So I've been experimenting with rye, and he's been okay. Both sourdough bread and bagels have turned out rather tasty, according to my dear husband. I made both with a rye sourdough starter and used gluten-free, all-purpose flour to minimize the impact of allergens on Ben's system.

I've also been playing with lacto-fermentation... and we've had some yummy sauerkraut and pickles! A couple other attempts at fermenting fruits and vegetables turned out okay, but I'm not sure how many other people would find them appetizing.

One thing that I've been finding to help with Ben's asthma is raw honey. He has it on his organic, greek-style yogurt every day, and it does seem to be participating with other remedies in keeping his airways open. I'm so grateful for God's grace in leading me to natural remedies. The drugs have such side affects that we'd like to minimize their use wherever possible.

So when I have a few more minutes, I'll post some recipes.... kefir, whey, fluffy oatmeal pancakes, sourdough bread, sourdough bagels, pickles and sauerkraut...